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Deborah Runkle is a senior program associate at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is the Associate Staff Officer of the National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists, a joint standing committee of the AAAS and the ABA’s Section of Science & Technology Law. Her interests include issues at the intersection of science, technology, and law, including legal implications of developing information technologies. She is also the project coordinator for a series of judicial education seminars on “Emerging Issues in Neuroscience.”
If you can monitor your email, the weather, and your horoscope on your mobile phone, how about your health? It turns out you can monitor that too, by downloading one of the more than 10,000 health apps for mobile devices. This phenomenon is known as mHealth, broadly defined as “the use of mobile telecommunications in health care.” Although life science companies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, insurers, and health care providers all are taking advantage of the new opportunities available through mobile communications, it is use by individual patients and consumers that holds out the possibility of a promising disruptive technology. mHealth is a low-cost platform that can engage patients by communicating actionable information to health care providers in a manner that fits into the day-to-day lives of patients and by providing advice and feedback that allows them to manage their own health and wellness.